Gun violence in PG-13 movies becoming more common than in those rated R, study

Published On November 12, 2013 | By HN Staff | Arts, News
Five of the seven top-grossing films rated PG-13 in 2012 were action movies featuring violence. One of them was the James Bond film "Skyfall". Source: Sony Pictures.

Five of the seven top-grossing films rated PG-13 in 2012 were action movies featuring violence. One of them was the James Bond film “Skyfall”. Source: Sony Pictures.

by Rachel Landry

According to a new study, gun violence in PG-13 rated movies has increased considerably over the years and, in some cases, exceeds gun violence in R-rated films.

Ohio State University and the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania looked at gun violence in top-grossing movies. Researchers examined 945 films, drawing from the 30 top-grossing movies from 1950 through 2012. The results were focused on sequences involving the firing of hand-held guns with the intent to harm or kill a living being.

The research found the frequency of gun violence in PG-13 movies has more than tripled since 1985. The PG-13 rating was introduced in 1984.

Meagan Borosch, a second-year film and TV production student at Humber, told Humber News she thinks violence in movies doesn’t shock anyone anymore because it’s so prominent that people have become okay with it.

“That’s just the day and age we’re in today,” Borosch said. “People see it so much it’s not new anymore, even for kids.”

Michelle Corner is an avid movie-goer. She told Humber News she agrees that violence in PG-13 movies has changed since the rating was first implemented.

“Things that are acceptable in society change,” she said. “I think that, unfortunately, that’s the way of the world now.”

Borosch said Humber’s film program won’t allow students to use guns or violence in their films because it’s too easy and that’s what people expect to see.

“It pushes us to make more creative movies without going to the staple of let’s just make a mindless action film,” she said. “Because they’re so popular and they’re so easy to make, it’s not even creative anymore.”

Since 2009, PG-13 gun violence has rivaled gun violence in R-rated films, surpassing it in 2012.

The study found that, in 1985, PG-13 films had an average of one five minute segment of gun violence.

The debate about violence in movies and other entertainment, like video games, was sparked again in 2012 following a series of mass shootings. One that supported the argument that there is a relation between the two was the Denver-area movie theatre shooting during a showing of The Dark Night Rises.

Borosch doesn’t think a connection should be made.

“Violent movies have been around for a long time,” she said. “This generation that’s going to see these movies, that’s what they’re used to.”

 

 

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